8 ways to recruit, engage, and keep volunteers

Churches need volunteers. Those volunteers need something in return.

Marketplace recently re­ported that the average volunteer’s efforts are worth $25.64 an hour. Those of us who are pastors aren’t surprised. While volunteer recruitment is an in­creasingly important skill in many fields, it has always been key to religious institutional experience. And according to the group Partners for Sacred Places, congregations have an “economic halo effect” when it comes to the value they return to their communities. That’s value that money can’t and didn’t buy. We pastors spend our days and nights inviting people to do things that may offer a kind of heaven on earth, but no earthly reward.

How do we improve our capacity to recruit, engage, and keep volunteers? Here are eight ideas.

1. Thank people. Not in a perfunctory way. Do it out loud, in public. Make somebody look good every day.